Hostelworld appoints former Ryanair deputy CEO as chairman

Hostelworld appoints former Ryanair deputy CEO as chairman

Top level management changes at Hostelworld will see chairman Richard Segal step down after six years to be succeeded by non-executive director Michael Cawley.

Segal is resigning from the low-cost accommodation online booking platform and will be replaced by former Ryanair deputy chief executive Cawley at a date later in the year still to be confirmed.

Meanwhile, HomeAway co-founder Carl Shepherd is joining the Irish company on October 1 as a non-executive director.

The management shake-up came as Hostelworld reported an 11% rise in first half group bookings to 3.9 million.

Half of all bookings in the first six months of the year came via mobile devices, up from 43% in the same period in 2016.

Overall revenue rose by 16% to €46.6 million with adjusted earnings [EBITDA] up by 27% to €12.9 million year-on-year. This came as the average booking value rose by 3.5%.

Chief executive, Feargal Mooney, said: “We remain confident in our long term strategy and execution and will continue to manage the risks to our business posed by the impact of terrorist attacks on travel demand alongside general macro-economic uncertainties and currency fluctuations.”

He said that group had returned to growth, “reflecting the strength of the core Hostelworld brand, which now represents 92% of total group bookings and the success of our continuing product, marketing and operational initiatives”.

Mooney said: “The strong trading seen in the second half of 2016 continued throughout the early months of 2017, with growth in bookings across all geographies.”

He added: “The level of growth in H1 2017 was somewhat flattered by a weak comparative in H1 2016, and growth rates in the June to August period have been more modest.

“Our expectations for the full year outcome are nonetheless unchanged, and we have declared a 6% increase in the interim dividend.

Segal said: “It has been a privilege to undertake the role of chairman of Hostelworld over the last six years, a period which has seen the group undertake much change and make strong progress.

“Hostelworld is very well positioned to prosper in its growing international markets, and I wish Michael, Feargal and everyone at the group well for the future.”

He added: “I welcome Carl to Hostelworld. He brings highly complementary knowledge and experience of our industry and markets, and his counsel will be of great benefit as we continue to take the group forward.”

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